This post was originally published on www.forbes.com
I have three feelings when I walk onto a construction job site and the project team provides an overview of the project: excitement, pride and camaraderie. Construction is an industry that is as rewarding as it is challenging. It requires long hours and manual labor, but at the end of a project, we can point to an iconic structure or critical infrastructure and say, “We built that.” I’m proud to say that PCL Construction builds the places where people gather and life happens.
As an essential industry, construction wasn’t subject to many of the same stay-at-home mandates other fields experienced during the pandemic. While much of the world shifted to Zoom calls and home offices, our workforce continued to build healthcare facilities, educational institutions and civil infrastructure to keep communities running.
Yet while we continued to build, the world changed irreversibly. Remote work is no longer seen as a perk among all job seekers; instead, it’s somewhat of an expectation. I’ve seen numerous articles that proclaim the office is dead. But is office work really the problem with attracting talent, or is it a company’s culture?
No doubt, many companies have been able to successfully shift to a remote work model. However, surveys have shown that working from home can also lead to longer work hours, feelings of isolation and increased burnout. I would argue that for many employees, a remote work model is not a dealbreaker but one of the many ways a company can offer what they’re truly seeking: flexibility and balance.
Working from home may not work for all job functions, but a culture of flexibility can.
“Family” is core to my company’s culture, obviously taking into account that it looks different to everyone. For me, it was making time to attend my sons’ sporting events when they were growing up; for others I know, it’s taking care of aging parents or making time for creative pursuits outside of work. I’ve often shared my belief that we work hard to support our family and passions. If we don’t make time for them, what are we really working for?
You don’t have to work remotely to offer a culture that empowers workers to put family first.
For example, PCL has instructed construction project managers to rotate schedules so that teams can spend more time with their families. Many parents in our office positions leave early when needed to take their kids to activities, no questions asked from their managers. While we do primarily work in the office, employees can work from home on the days they have appointments or other pressing needs, and our sick leave policy is flexible so that workers can make their health a priority.
At PCL Construction, we tell our employees that family comes first, and we treat our employees like family. So, how are you taking care of your employees when it comes to flexibility and work-life balance? Culture, not location, is key when building a successful workforce.